How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Wittenberg 54499
Selecting the right dental hygienist program near Wittenberg WI is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial factors to take into account as well, such as the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to finish for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important part of any Wittenberg dental practice and can perform a wide range of functions. Their main job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. A number of Wisconsin dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, such as pediatrics. Even so most assistants perform any duty that they are asked to complete, for example:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Wisconsin dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a Wittenberg dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Wisconsin practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in nearly all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Wisconsin community colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with Wittenberg area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist school may be a great option for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Wittenberg home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can usually be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you may find that attending an dental online program is the best choice for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
Once you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to earn, you can start the process of comparing Wittenberg area schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they search for several online alternatives also. Although these may be important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Wisconsin programs you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Wittenberg area employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the college you decide on offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, many Wittenberg area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a school has an excellent reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the right school for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. A number of Wittenberg area dental programs have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are considering have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective means to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Wittenberg dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene colleges need help landing their first job. Find out if the programs you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Ask the Wisconsin schools you are looking at how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate setting for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 54499 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near Wittenberg in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Dental School near Wittenberg WIPicking the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is essential if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options available to receive your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.